[WATCH] Excerpts from 'Cubanacán: A Revolution of Forms,' First New Cuban Opera in 50 Years, from Charles Koppelman, Roberto Valera and Charles Chemin
Cubanacán: A Revolution of Forms is indeed the first new Cuban opera in nearly five decades. Itself some twelve years in the making, this new production comes to fruition via American filmmaker Charles Koppleman to kick off the 2015 Bienal de la Habana on May 22, under the curious theme “Between the Idea and the Experience.” Featuring a libretto by Koppleman, music by Cuban composer Roberto Valera (who will also conduct) and stage direction by the Parisian upstart Charles Chemin, Cubanacán looks at moment in the history of Castro’s reign that you've likely never read about before.
Specifically, the premise here focuses on Cuba’s National Art Schools. Built during the 1960s--pin high to the Havana Country Club--said schools were actually a set of five conjured up by Fidel Castro and Ernesto "Che" Guevara, yes, during a golf outing. Alas, architect Ricardo Porro’s dream for the institution, like the most vaunted ones under Communism (big C), got tangled up in the blue laws of that red island state.
An old fashioned three-acter (in Spanish, por supuesto), you'd be wrong to hear this opera as anything other than the first significant cultural event there since the U.S. lifted that silly travel ban (save for those songs of Annea Lockwood, maybe).
All the same, here's your cast:
Elegguá - Marcos Lima (bass)
Ricardo Porro - Bryan López (tenor)
Ochún - Yilam Sartorio (soprano)
Selma Diaz - Laura Ulloa (soprano)
Fidel Castro - Saeed Mohamed (tenor)
Che Guevara - José Rafael Verdera (bass)
Roberto Gottardi - Ian Sánchez (baritone)
Vittorio Garatti - Ernesto Alejandro Leyva (baritone)
Activist - Julio Herrera (tenor)
Intellectual - Franco García (bass)
Artist - Héctor Rodríguez (tenor)
And the full production credits for Cubanacán: A Revolution of Forms...
PRODUCER AND LIBRETTIST - Charles Koppelman
COMPOSER AND MUSIC DIRECTOR - Roberto Valera
STAGE DIRECTOR - Charles Chemin
PRODUCTION MANAGER - Mario Oliva
SET DESIGNER - Maykel Paez
LIGHTING DIRECTOR - Manolo Garriga
CHOREOGRAPHER - Susana Pous
STAGING AND LIGHTS - PM Records, Havana
PIANO ACCOMPANIST - Gabriel Chorens
ORCHESTRA - Symphonic Orchestra of the Biennial of Havana and Camerata Romeu.
CHOIR - Lyrical National Theater of Cuba